On Losing My Smartphone

The sun wasn’t out yet. 5.30 is still dark in winters.

When I walked into the station, I noticed many people slept outside Platform No.1, shapes of bodies visible on the bed sheets covering the bodies from the cold. The few who were awake were on the platforms. I ran to Platform No. 3 and boarded the Prashanti Express – S-11.

This train has been an important part of my childhood memories – every year, we would take this train to our school and back for the vacations. I have always loved trains, stations – and the multitude of experiences that a single journey opens you up to.

And so as with any train journey when you have settled and the train has begun to chug off from the station, I had a slight, warm feeling in my heart.

I took out my phone and began to scroll through my news feed. I found a Greatbong article on the RaNab interview, and smiled. I clicked on it, and it opened up, in typical 1.5G speed, and I double tapped on it and the letters got bigger, and I began to read –

A dark hand flashes in front of me. My phone is snatched out of my hand. A guy jumps out of the door behind me. The light from my phone shining in his hands.

And just like that my phone was snatched away from me.

*

It has been more than a week since my phone went missing.

Sometimes, I still recall that moment – that split second when the phone vanished from my hands, cruelly snatched away in a manner that Amrish Puri would snatch little children from their mothers in the 90’s.

Of course, like any other phone user, I felt anger and sorrow.

But you see, I wasn’t any other phone user.

I had spent a year without a phone, and then used a Nokia for a few months, and then got into a job and bought a phone. It was a terrible phone – HTC Explorer – but I chose to look beyond its Chacha Chaudhry-esque abilities and at the larger picture of the wonderful benefits of technology. I sold that phone to get another one – LG Optimus. This phone dropped from my hand in the toilet of a bar and simply refused to work. The highly efficient folks at LG Customer Care ensured I couldn’t ever use it again. I then got myself a Galaxy Grand.

Considering I hung out with people who had the ascetic opinions on technology as me, I played the turncloack with a vengeance. I showed them all the wonderful things they could do, and I did push it a little bit.

Like when they asked me about a particular place, I would open up Maps and tell them how far it is, how they could reach it (By bus, by cab, or by walk), and how much time it would take them in each of those methods.

I wasn’t the usual mail checking, Facebook poking, smartphone user. I wrote on my phone. Every blog, every story, almost everything I had written in the last one year was written on my phone. I read on my phone. Not just news and magazines, but entire books. I must have read at least 70 books on Aldiko in the last one year.

I used my phone to go to sleep at night, and to wake up in the mornings. I used it to make posters, to record stories that I narrated out. I used it to do push ups, used the Anti-mosquito for late night escapedes, was learning Spanish from Duolingo, music instruments, calligraphy, saving stuff on Evernote, to manage my daily expenses – and all this on a daily basis.

If Steve Jobs was looking down at me from the heavens, he would smile. Yes, I was on Android, but when you’re in heaven, these trivialities don’t matter much.

*

I have gone back to my older Nokia phone. I love how Nokia makes these phones that you can use when your smartphone gets stolen.

I have introspected about my feelings towards my phone.

I have realised that smart phones aren’t really smart. If it was, it would find a way to come back to me. Smart for me will always be someone who’s quick on their feet, someone who can think off the hook, get by in tough situations.

Our smartphones are more like wizened university professors. They can give you a vast ocean of information, but they can’t find their way back home by the bus.

Smart phones are doing a lot of things right, but one still gets the feeling that a lot more could be done. Hasn’t it struck you sometimes? That nobody has thought of this shit. Like, 5 touch capacitative touch feature (shall refrain from making Draupadi joke here…oh damn!) 5 touch capacitative is fine, but what happens when it rains?

Also, how does one carry a phone that is so big, in one’s pocket. May be jeans companies need to come up with large cool pockets for phones. Also, has anybody thought about how they can keep phones safe?

We are the fastest growing mobile market in the world, and we also have a well established chain snatcher market. Why doesn’t someone invent a device that keeps your phone safe?

*

I have moved on. Sometimes when I’m bored, I look around and stretch my hand out towards my phantom phone. And those dark fingers flash in front of me again and I look at my Nokia phone with a depressed expression on my face.

As for the thief, I don’t know.

I hope one of these nights, when he’s in bed with his wife, and the phone is on charge, he receives a call. He answers the call, and the phone explodes, and the house catches fire.

The thief tries to put out the fire, but it keeps spreading. Very soon, the entire chawl is ablaze in the flames. People are running helter skelter, pouring buckets of water, trying to douse the fire, to no avail. And then, the entire place is burnt to ashes.

Yes. That would be give me satisfaction.

*

19 thoughts on “On Losing My Smartphone

  1. NitinGupta-LP

    Hriday, Since you were on android yes there is a way to keep a track of it and not just that you can remotely lock and wipe your fone if et’all it contains sensitive data. obv it would atleast some of your passwords, though the guy who snatched, would be interested to sell it, till the time it will be online, you can always keep a track of it, unless an Adroid_keeda wipes it completely to the root.

    My sis lost her HTC one, and we took all measures we could, Police was able to find the fone back up in about 2 weeks time, and Yes we got our phone back.

    Reply
  2. hungoutodry

    My dear, all of what you’ve described are what all of us use our smartphone for. We’ve built our lives around our phones and our netbooks are sorely starting to feel left out.

    My Xperia Mini’s fortunately camouflaged in a tiny ancient looking exterior so noone would dream of snatching it.

    Reply
  3. Jatin Garg

    I can so relate… lost my iPhone in the Delhi Metro a couple of months ago… been using a hand-down from my dad ever since. Was devastated when it happened. Needless to say, haven’t recovered it yet, probably never will. And though I liked your idea of the thief’s house burning down, I dreamed up some satisfactory scenarios of my own. Things like the person gets a terribly itchy anus and his/her hands can’t reach the spot and there’s no tree in sight. Or maybe he/she is at the most important event in their life and they get a severe case of diarrhea without a single toilet for miles around. And both scenarios destroy their life. That could satisfy me. Maybe.

    Reply
  4. shekhar bidwai (@shekharbidwai)

    Excellent personal loss to share as most of us have gone through the same ; of loosing smartphone and being dumb for some time ! I must console you as I can understand what agony you are going thru ! Try to use some tools to bring it back ; but stolen smartphones and girlfriends have many things in common ; They usually never return !

    Reply
  5. Harshita Jaiswal

    I can truly understand your state of mind , my dad’s touchscreen was stolen like that and those were the days when touchscreen was entering the markets . A few months back, my friend’s note 2 got missing at station ( but to my surprise , she got a note 3 after a few days!) and a few days back, my brother’s smartphone got stolen and i feel that he is still in devdas mode, and it took place a few days before his 18 th birthday.
    In my case, my phone got confiscated for 15 days + rs 500 fine , i never use the phone in between the lectures because i don’t want to disrespect the person who stands there to teach us in fact, i don’t use the cell in the college . It was actually an alarm set unknowingly and inspite of my repeated requests , my sincerity as a student , i did not get it . I also would use cellphone to create notes, memos, ringtones i.e. productive purposes . And in those 15 days , i would just try to find the reason behind that alarm that rang and how could i be safe from such a situation if it happens again . And i am so guilty of shelling 500 from my father’s pocket when it could have been used for some other significant task! And on my birthday, that fell in those 15 days span, i was totally isolated from my childhood friends . I used to cry everyday , even after i got my phone, not because the phone was confiscated, but because my father’s hard earned money was wasted just like that!!
    But this incident made me popular among the teachers followed by the results and i realized what endures.

    Reply
  6. desidaaru12

    I once was doing a night shift at a hospital when an emergency case came in. I jumped out of my chair and rushed towards the patient, leaving my phone on a table. When I returned, it was gone. It was only a week old, and was a gift that I couldn’t have afforded at the time.
    It’s been 4 years and it still stings a bit 😉
    Sorry about your phone.

    Reply

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